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NASA Unveils Next Generation 'Monster' Space Rocket

Sep 14, 2011

If things go without a hitch NASA announced that its new Space Launch System could take its first manned test flight in 2017.

The new design looks a lot like the Apollo era rockets that took American astronauts to the moon, but NASA said the new spacecraft is much more powerful than any other rocket they've made before and could set up astronauts for deep space exploration. The SLS will be NASA's first exploration-calss vehicle since the Saturn V took astronauts to the moon.

At the unveiling of the plans Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) called it a "monster rocket."

When U.S. forces launched the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, they were riding a wave of anger and a call for justice by a broad swath of the American public.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, says the initial support for the Afghan invasion was around 90 percent, and the war was closely followed by a large number of people. But since then, the public has been slowly disengaging, he says.

While there are still many open questions, some things are more certain in the sorry tale of Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar-cell manufacturer President Obama once praised as a model for the nation's renewable energy future.

One, U.S. taxpayers will take a loss on their $535 million federal loan guarantee that was part of the stimulus program.

Two, 1,100 workers have been laid off.

Three, the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week raided Solyndra's offices.

A story that's been getting some attention the past day or so — that AIDS researchers at the Mayo Clinic have inserted genes into cats that make the animals glow green in the dark — sounded familiar.

Haven't researchers been doing this sort of thing for years? We wondered.

At first glance this bit of news from the AP seems a foreboding sign for the future of the country:

Scores on the critical reading portion of the SAT college entrance exam fell three points to their lowest level on record last year, and combined reading and math scores reached their lowest point since 1995.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to spend a good deal of time today talking about money, how much the government has to spend and how much and how little many American families have. Later we're going to talk about that special Congressional Committee that's been charged with coming up with a plan to take a big bite out of the federal deficit. That group held it's first public hearing on Tuesday.

For another perspective on combating the increase in poverty, Tell Me More turns to Jared Bernstein. He served in the Obama administration as Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. He responds to Herman Cain's 999 plan and identifies the impediments of getting Americans back to work.

'Civil, Sober' Super Committee Gets To Work

Sep 14, 2011

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's an article of faith that parents are going to try to work hard and sacrifice so they can leave something to their kids. But a new survey shows that that's less and less the case for millionaire baby boomers. We'll hear more about that in just a few minutes. That's this week's Money Coach conversation.

Antidepressants are the second-most-prescribed drug in the U.S., making them seem about as common as Pez candy.

Dispatches from the field: A customer was nabbed by police for sampling raw meat at a Walmart in Pennsylvania. A woman said she had an encounter with a bat at a Walmart in Minnesota. A family of five was living in a car at a Walmart in Florida.

"Dozens of Americans who claim to have been made ill by Wi-Fi and mobile phones have flocked to the town of Green Bank, W.Va.," the BBC reports.

"A key federal report blames poor management, key missteps and a faulty cement job by BP and others for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history and the deaths of 11 rig workers," The Associated Press reports.

One of the scoops of the day, from The Washington Post:

"The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company's factory, newly obtained e-mails show."

Republicans had reasons to cheer and Democrats to despair Wednesday with the upset special election victory in New York City of a Republican retired businessman who will complete the congressional term of Anthony Weiner, the Democrat who exited the U.S. House because of a sexting scandal.

Bob Turner, a 70-year old former cable television executive, beat David Weprin, a 55-year old, state assemblyman, in a district which had, until Tuesday, been reliably Democratic for nearly 100 years.

A sharp drop in energy costs helped keep prices at the wholesale level unchanged in August vs. July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

According to BLS, while food costs went up 1.1 percent, energy costs fell 1 percent.

Still, over the 13 months ended Aug. 31 the producer price index rose 6.5 percent, BLS added.

The limits of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's authority appear to be showing again with word from that country's official news outlet that:

"Iran's Judiciary has rejected recent media reports on the imminent release of the two American nationals that were convicted of spying on behalf of the United States."

"Republicans pulled off an upset in Tuesday's special election in New York City to replace former congressman Anthony Weiner," NPR's Joel Rose reports. "Bob Turner claimed victory over Democrat David Weprin."

An attack on the U.S. embassy and other buildings in the heart of Kabul's diplomatic district that lasted 20 hours is now over.

Born To Prey: Watch T. Rex Come Alive

Sep 14, 2011

Tyrannosaurus rex roamed the Earth some 65 million years ago. In the century since the first skeleton was unearthed in Montana, our understanding of how the giant predator lived, moved and behaved has evolved. Watch the videos below to see the latest T. rex research in motion.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In Tripoli, residents are painting the town red, green and black, the new colors of the Libyan revolution.

Under Moammar Gadhafi, the regime strictly controlled the images that were allowed in public. Storefronts had to be painted green. English was banned on signs. Anti-regime graffiti was quickly painted over and could be met with a harsh response.

Sports fans love to designate certain games as "the greatest ever," the "match of the century" and so forth. Well, I would like to state that a piece in the October issue of The Atlantic Monthly, which was released online Tuesday, may well be the most important article ever written about college sports.

Republicans aren't exactly crazy about the public works spending President Obama proposes in his $447 billion jobs bill sent to Congress this week, but they are even less enamored with how the president wants to pay for it: by ending a slew of tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations.

Palestinians Seek To End Stalemate With U.N. Bid

Sep 13, 2011

As the Palestinians plan to make a bid for statehood at the United Nations next week, many Palestinians see it as a way to break years of deadlock with Israel.

The Israelis, meanwhile, see only diplomatic fallout and the potential for violence.

For Palestinians, the U.N. plan is loaded with symbolism. The central post office in the Palestinian city of Ramallah is issuing a series of commemorative stamps and postcards this month. For the first time, they will identify the country of origin as Palestine.

The back rooms of museums are like your grandparents' attic, only the stuff is more exotic — things like fossilized jellyfish, dinosaur eggs, or mummified princes.

And if you look carefully, you'll find objects that once changed science but are now largely forgotten. You might call them Lost Treasures of Science. This is a story of one of those objects — a special bone that's part of a special skeleton.

Terrified to see your teenager behind the wheel? You're not alone. But a new study finds tougher state licensing laws have led to a decrease in fatal accidents, at least among 16-year-olds. That's the good news.

Republicans pulled off an upset in Tuesday's special election in New York City to replace former congressman Anthony Weiner. Bob Turner claimed victory over Democrat David Weprin.

Democrats hold a 3-1 registration advantage in the district that spans parts of Queens and Brooklyn. And they put scores of volunteers to work canvassing, but none of it was enough to stop Turner.

"We've been asked by the people of this district to send a message to Washington, and I hope they hear it loud and clear," Turner said in his victory speech shortly after midnight.

A day after her finance minister said the possibility of an "orderly default" by Greece should be on the table, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to reassure markets by saying that Germany will continue to finance Greece.

As The Wall Street Journal explains it, what Merkel is saying is that Europe will not allow Greece to be forced to declare bankruptcy or leave the eurozone. The paper adds:

NYPD Investigating Officers' Dirty Dancing

Sep 13, 2011

We're breaking from the serious news for a few minutes to bring you a bit from New York City, where a group of New York City's finest may be in hot water for having a little too much fun at the city's West Indian American Carnival parade.

The parade happened Sept. 5, but after a video of the dancing uniformed cops was posted on the website WorldStarHipHop and then went viral on YouTube, the New York City Police Department announced today it was launching an investigation.

U.S. Embassy Attack Highlights Afghan Security Issues

Sep 13, 2011

Insurgents rained a barrage of rockets and gunfire on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters Tuesday in a brazen attack in Afghanistan's capital that underscores their ability to stage operations even as coalition forces hand over security to Afghan troops.

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